Leading restaurants started to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather by adding lighter dishes, seasonings and sauces to their menus, according to foodservice consultants Technomic. These dishes are heavily showcasing seafood as well as citrus and fruit flavors such as lemon, lime and peach.
 
The findings are part of Technomic's ongoing examination of menu additions to leading independent and chain restaurants' menus, which are collected bi-annually and available on Technomic's searchable online MenuMonitor database.
 
"We found that restaurants have begun rolling out a number of new seafood dishes, especially entrées incorporating grilled shrimp, salmon or tilapia," Bernadette Noone, director of product management at Technomic, said in a news release. "We believe that the higher incidence of seafood dishes is the direct result of a fall in seafood's retail price points. We've also seen countless restaurants introduce new menu offerings featuring citrus and other fruit flavors. Lemon and lime have been exceptionally popular."
 
A look at recent seafood dishes reveals that shrimp tacos, lobster tails, grilled salmon and grilled mahi mahi are some of the most common menu additions. The seafood trend is evident across all restaurant segments, from quick-service chains to fine-dining restaurants. A sample of new seafood entrées includes:
  • Tempura Shrimp & Lobster Tail combo meal at Charlie Brown's Steakhouse
  • Mediterranean Grilled Salmon at Panera Bread
  • Fish Wrap at Wienerschnitzel
  • Shrimp Taco at Taco Bell
  • Creole Shrimp on Fresh Pappardelle at Uno Chicago Grill
  • Seafood Platter at K&W Cafeterias
Some chains. like Wienerschnitzel, got a jump-start on spring with menu items targeting Catholics during the religious season of Lent while others are already for summer.
  
Numerous examples of citrus and other fruit flavors also are showing up on beverage items, alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike.
 
Technomic's MenuMonitor online database provides instant access to menus from over 1,000 independent and chain restaurants. Subscribers can search by menu items, mealpart, specific ingredients and more, and apply powerful trend-tracking tools.

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